Saturday, March 05, 2005

Crunch the Numbers

Actually, don't crunch the numbers; this site will lend you a hand. You can enter your state, and determine the nature of the trade-offs that you, the taxpayer, are making, willy-nilly. For example, I learned this:
Taxpayers in Texas will pay $720.2 million for ballistic missile defense in FY2006. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided:

159,091 People Receiving Health Care


Request Redux

The suggestions thus far have been fabulous (if you'd like to see them, check out the comments section for this post)!

Keep 'em coming, s'il vous plait.

The orginal post, to refresh your tattered memories:

My beloved fiancee and I are putting together CDs for the dancing after the wedding, and would love suggestions. The initial songs are as such, the first being for me and her, the second being for me with my mother, her with her father, and the next two to get things kicked off for the mob:

Magnetic Fields "The Book of Love"

Cowboy Junkies "Misguided Angel"

Abba "I do, I do, I do, I do, I do"

The Primitives "Crash"

What next? Please do tell!


Two Shocking Bits of News

I don't mean to induce any aneurysms or infarctions, but here they are:

1) People other than Martha Stewart are getting out of jail today.

2) People other than Michael Jackson are on trial today.

I know, I know. These assertions seem implausible, even absurd, at first. But they are true.

You heard it here first.


Friday, March 04, 2005

Open Mockery

That's often what it takes to deflate a tyrant or a bully, and it would seem that that is just what the United States is getting, at long last. And, yes, it makes me happy to see it:

Jeers and catcalls greeted the top U.S. delegate to a global women's conference on Friday as she stressed Washington's opposition to abortion and support for sexual abstinence and fidelity.

After withdrawing an unpopular anti-abortion amendment from a key U.N. document, the United States joined in approving the declaration that reaffirmed a 150-page platform agreed 10 years ago at a landmark U.N. women's conference in Beijing.

The final approval prompted cheers, applause and a standing ovation by some participants.

However, top U.S. delegate Ellen Sauerbrey drew boos from the audience, which included some of the 6,000 activists who came from around the world, when she commented on Washington's interpretation of the document.

"We have stated clearly and on many occasions ... that we do not recognize abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support abortion in our reproductive health assistance," Sauerbrey said.

The loudest catcalls, unusual at the world body, came when she articulated U.S. policy on AIDS prevention for adolescents: "We emphasize the value of the ABC -- abstinence, be faithful, and correct and consistent condom use where appropriate -- approach in comprehensive strategies to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS and the promotion of abstinence as the healthiest and most responsible choice for adolescents."

Quite simply, if you behave ridiculously, you deserve--and likely need--ridicule.


Thursday, March 03, 2005

China Unnerves Me Again

This issue is not one that appears to concern the United States media, or, for that matter, the United States government. Considering that it involves a nuclear power that is developing fast and could conceivably supplant the United States as The Global Superpower within a few generations, perhaps it should get a little more attention:

China will shortly enact a new law defining support for the independence of Taiwan as treasonous.

The move is seen by many in the island republic as a "legal pre-emptive strike" that could lock Beijing into future military attack.

The new "anti-secession law" will be revealed within a day or two of the Chinese pseudo-parliament, the National People's Congress, whose annual session of 10 to 14 days begins tomorrow.


Small Step Forward in Montana

Not nearly as impressive as what they're trying to do in Connecticut, but it's something:

The Montana Senate has passed a bill that could allow limited rights to same-sex couples. The measure would create a statewide registry where people could designate their next of kin.

Although the legislation does not specifically mention gay and lesbian couples it was assailed by opponents as being pro gay. The bill would allow people in relationships to name their partners as next of kin, regardless of sexuality. Single people could also take advantage of it by naming a relative, friend or caregiver.

The measure gives the next of kin the right to hospital visits, the right to make medical decisions and also allows them to receive the dead person's remains. It provides an easy mechanism so that a lawyer is not needed.

This means that Montana is moving towards being as progressive as... Hungary.


Happy Birthday to My Blog!

I actually only just realized that it was one year ago today that I posted my very first real post on No Capital exactly a year ago, a post celebrating the support being shown for those who were, at the time, getting gay-married in San Francisco. That was just before my fiancee's brother's wedding. This is just before my own.

So, here we are, 365 days, 1622 posts, and 56,907 hits later...

Thanks to all my readers for checking in and commenting from time to time!


Ideology Idiocy

The notion presented by the Right over and over again that universities are places devoted to the brainwashing of gullible, vulnerable students by nefarious (Leftist) professors is deeply stupid. Students are smarter than that, and professors tend not to be committed to shutting down thought.

In fact, the notion that teaching can occur at all without some ideology coming into play is deeply stupid as well. Sorry, but there is no such thing as a pure Reason that exists outside of some ideological worldview (definitions of Reason, in fact, are fundamentally ideological, as is the notion that Reason is to be prized).

Howard Zinn said it well with the title of his book You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train. And for history or literature or sociology to be vital and worthy of study, the train had better be moving. Or rather, those studying had better recognize that it is moving, whether they like it or not.

So, in the end, this legislation is worthless, at best a testament to the ignorance of those who vote for it. At worst, of course, is that it's one more tactic by which the Right intends to attack and intimidate those who don't toe their party line:

A national movement that supporters say protects college students from indoctrination by college professors but opponents say stifles debate made its way to Minnesota on Wednesday when two legislators proposed legislation that they call the "Academic Bill of Rights."

Sen. Michele Bachmann, R-Stillwater, and Rep. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake, said their bill would require the state's publicly funded colleges and universities to adopt policies that would mandate that professors not use their classrooms to promote their personal political or ideological beliefs. It also says that students would not be punished for disagreeing with their instructors' politics.

While Bachmann, who has announced that she is a candidate for Congress, said the law would apply across the political spectrum, the focus nationally has been complaints from conservative students that left-wing professors have tried to use their classrooms to indoctrinate young minds with liberal propaganda.
Lawmakers in 21 other states have introduced similar bills, part of a national movement spearheaded by Students for Academic Freedom, a Washington-based student network founded by conservative activist David Horowitz.
"I find this very puzzling because it's a solution to a problem that doesn't exist," Livingston said. "The purpose of college professors is to help students think. We help them by presenting divergent perspectives. Sometimes we believe those perspectives, but a lot of times we don't. We just need to present our students with perspectives so they can think them through and understand them."

It is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist, except in the fevered brains of "persecuted" Right-wingers.

And a very problematic one, at that.


No "Gay Panic" in California

Good. I'm sure the Republicans, as the "party of personal accountability," will show strong support for this measure. Right?
Legislation has been introduced in the California Assembly to ban the use of the so-called "panic" defense in murder trials.

If passed it would prevent defense lawyers from arguing that the discovery of a victim's sexual orientation, gender, race or religion so enraged the defendant that they cannot be held fully accountable for their actions.

The "panic" strategy was used successfully in high profile cases recently in two states. In Kentucky, a man who killed a gay man, stuffed his body in a suitcase and then threw it into a lake was found guilty of manslaughter rather than murder. The prosecution had sought a murder conviction but the defense argued that Joshua Cottrell, 23, went into gay rage brought on by panic after Richie Phillips, 36, "came on to him" Cottrell could be eligible for parole in 30 months. (story)

In California last year, a mistrial was declared in the case of three men charged with the killing of trans teen Gwen Araujo. The men's lawyer had argued that they panicked after discovering that Araujo, with whom at least one of the men had sex with, had been born with male genitals. (story)


Chertoff, or "Grand Moff"

You be the judge:



American deaths in Iraq:
The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq (news - web sites) has topped 1,500, an Associated Press count showed Thursday after the military announced the deaths of three Americans, while car bombs targeting Iraqi security forces killed at least four people in separate attacks.


Hatred on the Run

It would seem that the YCT tucked its tail and ran yesterday at UT-Austin, rather than face those who would be critical of such a reasonable display as an "Immigrant Hunt." From the UT student newspaper The Daily Texan:
"YCT does not support bigotry and hatred--we never have, and we never will," said Lauren Conner, chairperson of UT YCT. While she acknowledged the UNT chapter's inflammatory stunt, Conner maintained that the Texas branch of YCT was hosting a booth only to celebrate Texas Independence Day.

"We had discussed the idea because another chapter had done it. After we realized the numerous consequences and how the event could be misconstrued, we as an organization decided not to go through with it," said Michelle Putman, YCT treasurer. "I would like to apologize to those who were given incorrect information about our intentions today."

The information, incorrect or not, encited anger in more than 200 protestors of all races.

"YCT, come get me!" the crowd shouted. They surged toward the booth set up at the southeast corner of UGL [the undergraduate library]. "Racist, sexist, anti-gay! YCT bigots, go away!" chanted the group. "YCT--KKK!"
Members of Teatro Liberacion, a guerilla theater group, presented an impromptu "Immigrant Auction," in which Lady Liberty was sold into slavery to Superman for $25,000.

I couldn't be there yesterday, but I wish I had been!


Bush Backs Down

Bush sells out, or flip-flops, or whatever, yet again:
The United States plans to drop its insistence that a U.N. document on women's equality make clear that abortion is not a fundamental right, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

The Bush administration had demanded that a final draft document include an anti-abortion statement, a proposal that plunged into controversy a two-week review session of the landmark 1995 women's conference in Beijing.


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Administration Opposes Democracy, Again

Salon has an excellent and disturbing piece that rethinks the Bush Administration's relationship with the media. You need to get a free daypass to read the full article, but believe me, it's well worth it. (Plus today's daypass is sponsored by Powell's, my favorite online bookstore.)
For the last four years the persistent story line about the White House's relationship with the press has focused on the administration's discipline, denial of access, and ability to stay on message. The Bush administration, according to this account, is expert at managing information, using secrecy, carrots and sticks, and carefully crafted talking points to control the news.

But in the wake of revelations about the aggressive and unprecedented tactics employed by the White House to manipulate the news, that relatively benign interpretation is being reexamined. Recent headlines about paid-off pundits, video press releases disguised as news telecasts, and the remarkable press access granted to a right-wing pseudo-journalist working under a phony name, have led some to conclude that the White House is not simply aggressively managing the news, but is out to sabotage the press corps from within, to undermine the integrity and reputation of journalism itself.
Why should we care? Well, because the oft-(mis)quoted Founding Fathers were correct in envisioning a free press as essential to a functioning democracy:
Weakening the press weakens an institution that's structurally an adversary of the White House. And if the press loses its credibility, that eliminates agreed-upon facts -- the commonly accepted information that is central to public debate.
This erosion of facts has already begun - a majority of Americans, after all, believe that Saddam Hussein was somehow working with Al-Quaeda - and it should come as no surprise that the Bush Administration, concerned as it is with "promoting democracy abroad," is equally concerned with suppressing and undermining it at home.

Via mediabistro.


Our Pro-Gay Military

The demise of the idiocy that is "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is drawing near, and the brass are glad to hear it:
Legislation to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the military’s ban on gays in the military was introduced in Congress on Wednesday.

The bill was filed by Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA) in the House of Representatives. The measure has more than 50 Congressional co-sponsors. Rep. Meehan is also a member of the House Armed Services Committee, as are 7 co-sponsors of today’s legislation.

A group of retired military generals and admirals announced on Wednesday that they support the bill. The flag officers are among the highest-ranking veterans to publicly support repeal of the military’s gay ban. They include Major General Vance Coleman (Ret.), Rear Admiral John Hutson (Ret.), Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy (Ret.), Brigadier Generals Keith H. Kerr (Ret.), Evelyn “Pat” Foote (Ret.), Virgil A. Richard (Ret.), Major General Charles Starr, Jr. (Ret.) and Rear Admiral Alan M. Steinman (Ret.).

“Our national security depends on having the best and brightest Americans protecting our freedoms,” said Foote, one of the first women to achieve the rank of Brigadier General.

In December 2003, BG Kerr, BG Richard and RADM Steinman publicly acknowledged being gay in the New York Times. “I think the real issue is how soldiers do their jobs, not their sexuality,” BG Richard later told CNN American Morning. “The policy is not working and it's not working because, as an example . . . the Army and the services are short many linguists and we kicked out [many] over the last couple of years that could have helped our Army.”


Razing Arizona

Arizona is doing its part to push home-schooling:
The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to let people carry weapons - including guns, grenades, rockets, mines and sawed-off shotguns - into schools, polling places and nuclear plants if they claim they're only trying to protect themselves.

The vote on the legislation came after Rep. Ben Miranda, D-Phoenix, pointed out it would bar prosecution of those who want to bring a weapon into the House or Senate. Despite that, lawmakers gave it preliminary approval on a 30-16 margin.


Weapons of Mass Destruction

I wonder what lawsuits will be aimed at the U.S. by Iraqis in forty years or so...

A court in New York is hearing a lawsuit brought by Vietnamese plaintiffs over the use of Agent Orange by the US during the Vietnam war.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensation from the US firms that manufactured the chemical for the military in the 1960s.

The alleged victims say the defoliant - which contains toxic dioxins - is responsible for health problems affecting millions of Vietnamese.

However the chemical companies say no such link has been proved.

The defendants - which include Dow Chemical and the Monsanto Corporation - also argue that the US government is responsible for how the chemical was used, not the manufacturers.

They maintain that US courts cannot punish corporations for carrying out the orders of a president exercising his powers as commander in chief.

In 1984, several chemical companies paid $180m (£93m) to settle a lawsuit with US war veterans, who said that their health had been affected by exposure to the substance.

Agent Orange was named after the colour of its container. The active ingredient was a strain of dioxin that stripped the jungle bare.

In time, some contend, the dioxin spread to the food chain causing a proliferation of birth defects.

Some babies were born without eyes or arms, or were missing internal organs.

Hmm... Just following orders, eh?

Where have I heard that defense before?


Canada's Gonna Get the Stinkeye, If They Aren't Careful

How could they possibly not want to participate in one of the stupidest ideas in recent military history?
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has cancelled a trip to Ottawa planned for next month, a sign of the chilly reception Frank McKenna can expect when he arrives in Washington Wednesday to take up his post as ambassador.

Mr. McKenna will arrive at his post with the waters still roiled by Ottawa's decision to opt out of the U.S. anti-missile shield.

The move by Ms. Rice is the most public note of disapproval to come from the Bush administration since Prime Minister Paul Martin made his decision known late last week. To make sure that the slight was understood, a White House official told an Associated Press reporter that the cancelled trip was the direct result of Mr. Martin's decision.


Topeka Tells Phelps to Go to Hell

The virulent anti-gay Fred Phelps clan was dealt a double blow in the group's hometown Tuesday. Topeka voters rejected a bid to repeal the city's gay rights ordinances and turned down an attempt by one of the clan leaders to gain a seat on city council currently held by a lesbian.

Phelps runs the Westboro Baptist Church which has been described by some authorities as a cult and operates the God Hates Fags website. The group, made up mostly of relatives of Phelps, routinely demonstrates at the funerals of AIDS victims.

They successfully managed to get enough signatures to force a vote on repealing two gay rights ordinances. One bans employment discrimination in city government on the basis of sexual orientation the other is hate crimes law.

The repeal bid failed 14,285 to 12,795. Had it passed it would have barred Topeka from reinstating such protections for 10 years.

A granddaughter of Phelps, Jael Phelps, was among three candidates who challenged the lesbian councilwoman, Tiffany Muller, in the nonpartisan primary Tuesday.

Muller, 26, had been appointed last year to fill a vacancy on the council. With her second-place finish on Tuesday night, getting 1,329 votes, Muller assured herself a spot on the April general election ballot. Richard Harmon, a lawyer, finished first, with 1,935 votes. Phelps, a 20-year-old nursing student, received just 202 votes.


Nerds on the March

I am sorry, but of all the Star Trek series, this latest one is the least deserving of such generosity, if only for the tooth-grindingly painful theme song: today announced that three anonymous contributors have stepped forward with a $3 million pledge toward the campaign to ensure a fifth season for the recently cancelled Star Trek: Enterprise.


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Latest Rumor

Apparently, the immigrant hunt may well have been called off at UT-Austin tomorrow...

We shall see.


Blood Pressure Medication

I found my outrage-o-meter spiking this morning for a number of reasons (see below), and found it necessary to calm myself a bit.

If you feel the same, do what I did, and go for a stroll in England. (Bonus: If you go all the way through, and click through to more pictures, you get to see me in front of a liquor store--where else?--and climbing over a stile amongst the sheepfields.)

Good Times Lie Ahead!


Some samples, to entice. But don't stop here. Seriously, my Significant Other's narrative adds more to the images than anything I could write...


Immigrant Hunt, Part II

They're spreading like locusts, these racist fucks. First Denton, now my own Austin. They're showing up tomorrow, at UT:
Well, the YCT (Young Conservatives of Texas) are at it again. This time they've organized a so-called"Immigrant Hunt" for this Wednesday, March 2nd on theWest Mall on campus-- they have reserved the space from 11:00am-1:00pm. They recently organized a similar event at the University of North Texas( and appear to be emboldened by the post-9-11 anti-immigrant climate.They plan to wear color-coded anti-immigrant shirts and "hunt for immigrants" who will be YCT-ers dressed in brown for Latina/os, yellow for Asians, etc. and offer rewards.

A counter-demonstration is planned by a multi-ethnic coalition of student organizations in response at the same time. Folks are asking for a huge turnout, and that people wear black shirts and white bandanas if possible, and bring signs and chants-- some folks will be linking hands in silent protest, others will be vocal and hold signs and pass out flyers outlining a progressive position on immigration. Please pass this information along to all your listserves. Thanks.


The Social Security Scare

The right, it seems, has been profiting from these fear tactics for a long, long time. Bush's latest assault is just upping the ante. He's going for the long con, but the short con has been in place for a while:

A think tank which raised money by targeting elderly Americans with Social Security scare letters paid for more than $130,000 in travel expenses for the House Republican leader, his wife and his staff, RAW STORY has learned.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, a highly controversial and little-known conservative think tank which has been sending Social Security “fright mail” for years, paid for two posh trips for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) in 1996 and 2000, each at the cost of at least $64,000.
NCCPR is unapologetic about its mailings.

“We assume most people are capable of taking care of themselves, and if there is something they have a desire about, they will let us know,” NCPPR president Ridenour told the San Francisco Examiner.

In 1998, The Examiner profiled an 86-year-old Oakland resident Faye Shelby who had been deluged by direct mail scams seeking money on issues including Social Security. The letters so distressed the nursing home resident that she lay awake at night worrying about what crisis most deserved her help.

“I didn’t know that I could just turn them down,” Shelby told the Examiner. “I was thinking it was something I had to do. . . . I thought if I didn’t correspond about Social Security, I wouldn’t get my checks.”

NCPPR has also been hit for other questionable practices.

In the 1990s, the group began to focus on denying climate change after they received tens of thousands of dollars from ExxonMobil. They also launched a crusade on behalf of tobacco interests after taking money from Phillip Morris.

NCPPR also saw an awkward moment last year when one of the members of the group’s conservative African American branch Project 21 failed to show up for a C-SPAN interview. Executive Director David Almasi, who is the only paid staff member for Project 21 and is white, filled in. From there, one editor went on to expose the group as a whole, finding that not a single director or board member of the group was black.

Yes, it's true. The anti-Social Security forces really are, quite simply, a bunch of bastards.


It's a Fundie v. Fundie World

The "Clash of Civilizations" theory has always been patently absurd. What we have here is a conflict between two disturbingly similar brands of anti-Enlightenment fundamentalism. And, even though that is the case, those in favor of reason and tolerance just continue to find that we are the ones in the cross-hairs:
One of the world's leading Islamic scholars has angered gay rights advocates in Asia and Europe after declaring that granting gay rights is a threat to society and should not be tolerated.

Anis Ahmad, vice-chancellor of Pakistan's Riphah International University calls homosexuality an aberration, the English language Chinese newspaper The Standard reports.
The Islamic leader said that there is a global responsibility to ensure that ethical values are upheld..


The True Reason behind "Tort Reform"?

I wouldn't be surprised:
Human rights lawyers will file a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on behalf of eight men who say they were tortured by U.S. forces in custody in Iraq and Afghanistan, sources familiar with the case said.

The lawsuit charges that officials at the highest levels of the U.S. government shoulder ultimate responsibility for the physical and psychological injuries sustained by the men while in American custody.

It was the latest development in a scandal over ill-treatment of U.S. war prisoners that has drawn criticism from around the world.

The case will be filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First in U.S. District Court. The two groups scheduled a news conference later on Tuesday to announce details.

The groups did not state who would be named in the lawsuit, but sources familiar with the case said it was Rumsfeld.

"The men represented in the lawsuit were incarcerated in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they were subjected to torture and other cruel and degrading treatment, including severe and repeated beatings, cutting with knives, sexual humiliation and assault, mock executions, death threats, and restraint in contorted and excruciating positions," the two groups said in a statement.

None of the eight men was charged with a crime, the groups said.


Monday, February 28, 2005


The Bush administration is berating a number of other nations for poor human rights records, including, notably, Syria:
The State Department issued an annual human rights report today that criticized not only countries that have been found chronically deficient, like North Korea, Syria and Iran, but some close American allies in the Middle East.
The United States has said repeatedly that it does not torture detainees or turn them over to countries that do.

Meanwhile, Maher Arar would beg to differ:

When I interviewed Maher Arar in Ottawa last week, it seemed clear that however thoughtful his comments, I was talking with the frightened, shaky successor of a once robust and fully functioning human being. Torture does that to a person. It's an unspeakable crime, an affront to one's humanity that can rob you of a portion of your being as surely as acid can destroy your flesh.

Mr. Arar, a Canadian citizen with a wife and two young children, had his life flipped upside down in the fall of 2002 when John Ashcroft's Justice Department, acting at least in part on bad information supplied by the Canadian government, decided it would be a good idea to abduct Mr. Arar and ship him off to Syria, an outlaw nation that the Justice Department honchos well knew was addicted to torture.

Mr. Arar was not charged with anything, and yet he was deprived not only of his liberty, but of all legal and human rights. He was handed over in shackles to the Syrian government and, to no one's surprise, promptly brutalized. A year later he emerged, and still no charges were lodged against him. His torturers said they were unable to elicit any link between Mr. Arar and terrorism. He was sent back to Canada to face the torment of a life in ruins.

So, where exactly did we send Arar, if not to Syria? Inquiring minds want to know. Actually, inquiring minds already know where he was sent, and know that America is guilty of torture, and of lying repeatedly about torture.


My Two Cents: Sue the Bastards

The couple used in that ridiculous and offensive anti-AARP ad, produced by the same slime-peddlers who brought you the Swift Boat posse, are considering a lawsuit, as they didn't authorize the use of their image for such vile purposes. Further, I'd agree that the implication of the ad that they are anti-American or anti-troops is libelous:

From a release. AmericaBlog’s John Aravosis is serving as publicist for the couple.

WASHINGTON, DC - Conservative front organization USA Next was accused today of illegally using a gay couple’s wedding photo in an anti-gay ad campaign supporting President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security.

The couple in the photo, Richard M. Raymen and Steven P. Hansen of Portland, Oregon, have come forward through an attorney to demand that USA Next stop using their image, and that the organization publicly apologize for using their image in a homophobic and libelous way. The demand, contained in a letter sent today to USA Next Chairman and CEO Charles Jarvis, references the couples’ right to seek damages for the misappropriation of their image.

A copy of the lawyer’s letter can be found online here:


Rights for the Imprisoned-but-not-Charged?

Sounds as though this judge is living in the last century, with such dated notions:
A federal judge ordered the Bush administration Monday to either charge terrorism suspect Jose Padilla with a crime or release him after more than 2 1/2 years in custody.

U.S. District Judge Henry Floyd in Spartanburg, S.C., said the government can not hold Padilla indefinitely as an "enemy combatant," a designation President Bush (news - web sites) gave him in 2002.

"The court finds that the president has no power, neither express nor implied, neither constitutional nor statutory, to hold petitioner as an enemy combatant," Floyd wrote in a 23-page opinion that was a stern rebuke to the government. He gave the administration 45 days to take action.

"We think that this is a wonderful decision," said Padilla's attorney, Andy Patel, as Padilla waited on another line. "It is one of those moments that all Americans should be proud of."


The Most Bizarre Pro-Life Maneuver Yet

It just goes to show you what strange things can occur to the mind of an anti-choicer. I am nearly speechless at the incredible simple-mindedness of this silly proposal:
State Rep. Brian Duprey has filed a bill that would forbid women from ending a pregnancy based on the projected sexual orientation of a fetus.

Duprey says there is growing evidence that sexuality is genetically determined, and parents should not be allowed to tamper with it in the womb.

The conservative Republican lawmaker emphasizes he is no supporter of gay rights. His bill is a reflection of his views on abortion.

Duprey says that the law is intended to take into account that someday scientists may find the gene that results in homosexuality.

"I have heard from women who told me that if they found out that they were carrying a child with the gay gene, then they would abort. I think this is wrong," Duprey told the Press Herald newspaper.

He says that he got the idea while listening to The Rush Limbaugh Show.
Mustanski found stretches of DNA that appeared to be linked to sexual orientation on three different chromosomes in the nucleus of cells of the human male.

Reporting last month on the research Mustanski said that "there is no one 'gay' gene."

"Our best guess is that multiple genes, potentially interacting with environmental influences, explain differences in sexual orientation," said Mustanski, a psychologist in the UIC department of psychiatry.


No Support for Veterans

Veterans now make up one out of every three homeless people. How can the nation remain so blind to this administration's hypocrisy, as they strut about militarily and ignore actual soldiers?
Harleigh Marsh was tough enough to scrape ice from the frozen deck of a Navy aircraft carrier in the North Atlantic. Smart enough to strip and rebuild a cockpit. And responsible enough to maintain survival gear for pilots. So when he found himself homeless six years ago, he figured he could handle it.

Like many of the estimated 500,000 veterans who will become homeless at some point this year, Marsh had the "Army of one" mentality that the armed forces demand.

"When a squadron or something needs you, you don't ask questions. You never say no. You salute and you do the job," he says. "And when you get out, you don't want people telling you what to do."

Veterans account for nearly one-third of all homeless men in America, even though the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says they comprise only 13 percent of adult males in the general population. In West Virginia, where Marsh now struggles to rebuild his life, one in nine people is a veteran - the highest per capita rate in the nation in the 2000 census.
Though it doesn't reach everyone, the VA spends nearly $179 million a year on programs for the homeless.

"Our job is to get you to that place where you were accountable and responsible for what you did," Dougherty says. "The truth of the matter is, when veterans come through these programs and they find that accountability and responsibility again, they're happy to do it and happy to be there. That's what they want."

Marsh agrees. But he wants one thing more.

He hasn't seen a dentist since 1996. Many of his teeth have shattered and blackened, and a cracked back molar causes constant pain. He carries numbing gel in his pocket.

"Dental care is still my major need, and it's a major concern to every vet I've ever talked to, homeless or not," he says.

Though the VA offers drugs, X-rays and extractions, Marsh can't bear the thought of losing another tooth. But reconstruction, he says, could change his life.

"I could smile again."



Of course, this won't make CNN, although this incident clearly fits the definition of terroristic threat. Why won't it make the mainstream media?


Shock, fear and anger rocked the Bishop Paiute reservation recently when letters left at the tribe's education complex threatened to ''kidnap, rape and dismember'' young Paiute girls, aged 5 to 9.

Three original letters, typed in red ink with a cover sheet signed ''KKK,'' were left at the tribe's gymnasium and on the baseball field adjacent to the tribe's Head Start program and daycare center. Other copies were tossed on nearby roadsides, according to the tribe's chief of law enforcement services, Cal Stafford.

The letters sparked a firestorm of outrage and anxiety on the reservation and in the surrounding city of Bishop, a small rustic town in the Sierra Nevadas.

Addressed to the Paiute tribe, the letters promised retaliation for ''your half-witted bucks taking another white life'' and alluded to crimes involving tribal members dating back a decade. The letters were turned over to the Inyo County Sheriff's office, which notified the FBI.

''This is a terrorist threat,'' said Bishop Paiute Vice Chairman Sandra Warlie, who spearheaded efforts to inform and protect tribal members. ''Whoever did this meant to put fear in our hearts by targeting our children. We are stepping up security measures and we will do everything we can to protect our people.''

(Thanks to Miriam for sending this to me!)